This murderer went after young courting couples in an attempt to "save their souls." Nadia was killed by the first blow of the hammer. John survived, but was physically and psychologically scarred to an extent that few people could comprehend. He withdrew from society, hid in his apartment, and now only emerges to work as a crime researcher for a major newspaper. Damaged as he may be, no one in New Jersey knows more about serial killers than John Costello. So, when a new spate of murders starts-all seemingly random and unrelated-John is the only one who can discern the complex pattern that lies behind them. But could this dark knowledge threaten his own life?
This disappointing crime thriller from Ellory (A Quiet Belief in Angels) focuses on a serial killer who restages famous murders with new victims across New York City. As the surprisingly ineffectual NYPD struggles to track down the Anniversary Killer, Det. Ray Irving finds himself unexpectedly allied with the enigmatic and reclusive John Costello, lone survivor of a previous serial killer's rampage and perhaps New York's foremost authority on serial killers. While the fiend strikes again and again, Ray is forced to depend on the fragile John, despite the personal cost to John as well as Ray's growing concerns about John's reliability. Ellory's operatic story, for all its entertaining purple-tinged prose and forays into the lurid underbelly of serial-killer fandom, brings little new to this familiar subgenre. His decaying New York as a place of unrelenting despair and violence will strike many as far more suited to the 1970s than to the present.